Australia's most populous state entirely in drought

The sun setting over the Ratcliffe-on Soar coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire UK

The sun setting over the Ratcliffe-on Soar coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire UK

Farming communities are now facing the prospect of running out of water as the worst drought in living memory shows no sign of letting up.

The conditions in New South Wales, which produces about a quarter of the country's agricultural output, have been the driest since 1965, the Associated Press reported.

According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, 61 per cent of NSW is either in drought or intense drought, while almost 39 per cent is drought affected.

ONE HUNDRED per cent of NSW is now officially in drought.

"There isn't a person in the state that isn't hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities", Niall Blair, minister for primary industries, said in a statement.

The amount includes the $576 million in emergency relief funding provided by the state and federal governments.

The problem isn't confined to NSW.

In this June 4, 2018, photo, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, second right, looks at dry soil with farmers during a visit to Strathmore Farm near Trangie, 485 kilometers (300 miles) north west of Sydney.

The drought has hit farmers particularly hard, with crop, water, and fodder shortages putting their livelihoods at risk.

Some people had spent up to A$10,000 per truckload of hay just to feed their animals, Mr Turnbull said.

Australia's most populous state was declared entirely in drought on Wednesday and struggling farmers were given new authority to shoot kangaroos that compete with livestock for sparse pasture during the most intense dry spell in more than 50 years.

Though Australia has long suffered from spells of drought, other parts of the world are now experiencing extreme weather which experts say is evidence of the Earth's changing climate.

"What we have to is make sure we [the government] back them in when the times get as tough as they are now", he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation earlier this week. Eligible households will able to apply for two payments of A$12,000 ($9,000) to help them get through the drought.

"Now we are the land of droughts and flooding rains, we recognise that", he said.

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